Last year saw a resurgence of adult children moving back in with their parents. They moved for lots of reasons – layoffs, COVID, childcare issues, illness, or the high cost of housing. Many of these adults moved back home with pets in tow.
If you’ve recently had grandpets begin living with you, there are unexpected joys – and challenges. Here are some things that you and your adult child will need to talk about before she brings her furbaby home to you.
Who Makes the Rules? Everyone treats their pets differently. You don’t allow Prancer on the couch. You do feed Turnip the occasional bit of human food. Your son likes to rile up Riley. Your daughter uses hand signals instead of verbal commands. Talk about these differences beforehand, and decide what rules are the rules in your home. Do remember it is your home, but be flexible. You may need to block off certain rooms or bend your standards just a bit.
Who Does the Work? When Puddles puddles, when Harry sheds, or when Chewy gnaws on a furniture leg, who is responsible? Who will feed? Who will make sure the water dish is clean? Who administers preventatives, and who does the daily walks? Communicate before the move in, but be ready to pivot and change as more issues arise or as situations change.
Who Pays? If you’re retired, it may be more convenient for you to take Penny to the vet, but you may not be so willing to foot the bill. Pet food, medicines, and new equipment should not automatically be put into your household budget. When you and your child are deciding who pays what for general expenses, don’t leave out the pets!
What If You Already Have Pets? If you already have pets, you are adding several new factors to the equation. Usually, pets will work things out on their own, but they may need your help and encouragement. You may need to have separate eating areas. It might be best to limit favorite toys to crate time. For cats you’ll definitely need to add at least one more litter box.
When They Leave Again...You’ve been through the empty nest phase before, and you know it’s a mixture of emotions. Try to remind yourself that this dog – and this adult – are only here temporarily. Situations will change and your child will leave, with Hal in tow.
In the meantime, keep the doors of communication open, be flexible, and enjoy the bonus time that you get with your bonus pet.